While house hunting, the first place we had a look at was owned by a Goan couple, settled in Zanzibar for the last 40 years. Having spent the last year in Goa, we got conversing and heard that the village they came from was Velsao (a small village in South Goa). We took them by surprise when we mentioned eating at a restaurant called Anushka (well known amongst the locals) on Velsao Beach. Incidentally, they eat there as well on their visits to Goa!
Well, on the house front we couldn’t take the place because of logistics issues. But this got me thinking on how tourists in general associate Goa with just Calangute and Baga Beaches. I guess North Goa is more `happening’ as in there are lots of restaurants (you are spoilt for choice) and shops which probably appeals to a larger section of tourists. On my first visit to Calangute Beach I decided I would never again go back for the beach….it was crowded, littered with paper and bottles and at the shacks, service was pathetic. Baga Beach was much nicer, but I would any day prefer the beaches of South Goa… peaceful, clean and beautiful.
The main beach hub in the south is Colva, which is touristy. Colva has ample car parking space with a variety of restaurants and shops. It’s probably the most crowded of the South Goan beaches.The stretch between Colva to Velsao is ideal for beach walks, interspersed with shacks and water sport activities. From my experience, the shacks serve really average oily food. So, for authentic Goan food head to the local eat outs which are usually open through the year.
Here are a few beaches that are worth visiting:
Betalbatim: One of those beaches with palms swaying in the winds…the village is well known for the local restaurant specializing in Sea Food, Martins Corner.
Majorda: A lively beach which attracts a fair share of visitors and offers a variety of water sport activities. The Vada Pao at the local coffee shop is worth trying!
Velsao: A quiet fisherman’s beach mainly visited by people living around. Sea food lovers should eat at Anushka ( as of 2017 this shack has closed).
Bogmalo: This is a small beach-side village close to the airport. It’s situated in a small bay surrounded by green hills, with around a mile of curving sandy beach. Joets, on the beach is a great place to have a drink or eat while enjoying the view.
Hollant: This is one of the lesser visited beaches of South Goa near Bogmalo. It’s a good idea to visit in the early mornings or on weekdays, tends to get crowded on weekends. The local shack there will get your lunch ready by the time you take a walk or a swim.
Benaulim: A quiet laid back beach with a few hawkers. Rafaels is one of our favourite places to eat at.
Palolem: A scenic beach, the Palolem beach is largely unspoiled and is usually busy during the tourist season. It is about one mile long and is crescent-shaped; you can view the entire beach from either end. Both ends of the beach consist of rocks jutting out into the sea.